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  • Robot arm mining on an asteroid in outer space.

    Before mining asteroids, sell the tech

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated May 22, 2024

    Space miners develop Earth-friendly tech products as the first step to a future extraterrestrial economy. Plenty of space mining companies have boomed and gone bust in the last decade. In spite of this, "the field has exploded in interest," said Angel Abbud-Madrid, director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines. The costs of space travel and exploration have been reduced dramatically due to the privatization of transport. With deep-sea mining still... Full story

  • Perseverance Mars rover taking a selfie on Mars.

    Perseverance drills exciting Martian sample

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 18, 2024

    The 24th sample taken by the six-wheeled scientist offers new clues about Jezero Crater and the lake it may have once held. As of April 4, Perseverance has been active on Mars for 1,110 sols or three years, one month, and 17 days in Earth time since its landing. In that time, the lonely rover collected 24 samples, but the latest embodies exactly why NASA sent the six-wheeled scientist to the Red Planet. The mission of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is to focus on... Full story

  • Astronaut in spacesuit pours handful of lunar regolith onto Moon’s surface.

    Liquid metal spacesuits vs. lunar dust

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 16, 2024

    In lieu of aliens or secret government bases, there is a very real and persistent threat on the Moon to future astronauts on NASA's Artemis mission – dust. This powdery substance is far from the commonplace kind we're used to earthside. Lunar dust is the finest fraction of crushed regolith easily disturbed and distributed throughout the low-gravity atmosphere of the Moon. It differs significantly in its origin and properties from terrestrial soil. On Earth, particles are w...

  • A teaspoon-sized 100-milligram sample from asteroid Bennu.

    Bennu sample begins new exploration era

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Dec 15, 2023

    After seven years and nearly 4 billion miles, mission returns with sample of asteroid that may offer secrets of the universe. After seven years hurtling through the solar system, NASA's OSIRIS-REx space mission ended in a resounding success as its precious cargo tore through Earth's atmosphere to touch down in the Utah desert. Launched on Sept. 8, 2016, the initially $800 million Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIR...

  • Dashed line shows opal-filled fracture cutting across layered rocks on Mars.

    Martian opals are a precious discovery

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 9, 2023

    Gemstones could offer evidence of past life and be a water source for future Martians. Martian opals discovered in a lakebed traversed by NASA's Mars Curiosity rover may be much more precious than their counterparts found on Earth. This is not due to the opals found on the Red Planet being more opalescent, dazzling, or exotic – though a pendant adorned with Martian opals would truly be out of this world – but because they may be a key to understanding past life and ena... Full story

  • Flat Martian landscape with dunes, small rocks, and Perseverance’s shadow.

    First extraterrestrial rock sample cache

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Dec 20, 2022

    Perseverance is dropping off a batch of samples for Mars Sample Return robotic team to retrieve. While the impressive toolkit aboard the Perseverance rover provides earthbound scientists with a trove of data on the geological and biological history of Mars, the ultimate goal is to get rock and dirt samples collected by the robotic geologist back to Earth for closer examination. Toward this objective, Perseverance is wrapping up its prime mission by creating a depot of samples...

  • Video intro to NASA's Break the Ice Lunar Challenge.

    NASA's Break the Ice Challenge semi-finals

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech Newsw|Updated Dec 20, 2022

    With 2022 coming to a close, NASA has announced the 15 teams moving forward to the semi-finals in the $3.5 million Break the Ice Lunar Challenge, an ongoing competition that puts research groups, robotics teams, and private companies in head-to-head trials to design future-tech rovers to harvest the most valuable commodity of all in outer space, water. "We're putting humanity back on the Moon with the Artemis missions, and this is a team effort on a global scale," said Amy...

  • NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover selfie over a rock nicknamed Rochette.

    Transforming Mars dirt into metallic iron

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 23, 2022

    Food, water, breathable air, shelter, and clothing – these fundamental elements of human survival here on Earth will be even more critical for early Mars colonists. With delivery fees measured in millions of dollars and wait times for rush orders being at least six months, Red Planet pioneers are going to need to be able to produce their own survival goods. Researchers at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia are developing a process that co-produces two of t... Full story

  • Rendering of an astronaut working at a futuristic forge on the Moon.

    Latest NASA challenge tackles Moon forging

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 16, 2022

    NASA's eighth annual Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-Changing (BIG) Idea Challenge invites university students to design a metal production pipeline – from extracting metal from minerals to creating structures and tools – for the Moon. "Here at home, forging metal has long been a key part of building our homes and infrastructure, and the same holds true as we work towards a sustained presence on the Moon," said Niki Werkheiser, director of technology maturation within NAS...

  • Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander in upcoming space missions.

    Preparations for foothold in final frontier

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    Aiming to kick off the Artemis era later this year, NASA is preparing for the first launch of its Space Launch System (SLS) mega-rocket carrying the Orion spacecraft, which will fly without any crew around the Moon and back on a trip lasting between 26 and 42 days. NASA hopes this Artemis 1 mission will be a steppingstone to its next giant goal, landing astronauts at the lunar south pole by the end of 2025. On the morning of March 17, the world's largest set of doors rolled...

  • University Adelaide Exterres Laboratory space exploration simulation Australia

    Australian university sets up space lab

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    The University of Adelaide has launched Exterres Laboratory, the first of its kind in Australia for an off-Earth surface testing environment for space technology such as rovers – which are destined for the furthest reaches of the universe. The Extraterrestrial Environmental Simulation (Exterres) Laboratory, located on North Terrace campus, will provide a crucial stepping-stone in developing the technology required to accompany humankind back into deep space. With it, researche...

  • NASA Psyche asteroid National Aeronautics Space Administration solar array panel

    Solar wings to fly to Psyche asteroid

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration March 7 reported the nearing launch of its 11-year Psyche project, with the assemblage of its massive solar panels that will power the spacecraft through its nearly four-year journey. Scheduled to launch on Aug. 1, the Psyche spacecraft will travel 1.5 billion miles to a mysterious, metal-rich asteroid of the same name. "Seeing the spacecraft fully assembled for the first time is a huge accomplishment; there's a lot of pride,"...

  • Hayabusa 2 Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Ryugu asteroid type-C

    Hayabusa 2 to drop asteroid samples soon

    Matthew Lasley, For Metal Tech News|Updated Dec 1, 2020

    Are we there yet? With only about 1.4 million miles to go, the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is about to finish its primary mission that has carried it over 3.25 billion miles so far! Even though it reached the near-earth asteroid Ryugu, a mere 7.5 million miles away as the space crow flies, and retrieved samples to return, the overall success of the mission depends on whether it can safely return those samples to Earth. Unlike its predecessor, Hayabusa 1, which burned up on reentry,... Full story